The second-largest search engine in the world, after Google, is also Google. It’s just a slightly different form of Google; the video search embedded in YouTube. That’s right; every time you search for the latest Korean pop meme or kitten video, you’re contributing to the single largest edifice of video content and search optimization ever created.
From a business perspective, this is a fantastic opportunity. YouTube can be leveraged like a 24/7 commercial channel, where you’re able to access a massive, interested community of fans who want to see your ads. You can use it to build a reputation and grow your brand name. You can use it for damage control through public relations. With so many options, it’s hard to know where to start. Here are a few ideas.
1. Build a Reputation as a Quality Producer
Consider this the YouTube equivalent of organic SEO on your blog. You’re going to want to optimize your channel page, optimize each video you post, and post videos on a consistent basis. Even if you only produce one video every week or every two weeks, as long as your video content is deep and your video quality is high, you’ve established a piece of content that never goes away. Short of a copyright flag, your video won’t go down unexpectedly. If you choose the right topic, it may remain relevant for years to come.
Optimizing your channel page is the easy part. You need to create custom graphics for the logo and background. You need to create custom social links to your main profiles, likely including Facebook and Twitter, and any others you choose to use. You’ll want to create playlists of related content eventually, once you’ve produced enough to be relevant. You’ll also want to create a channel trailer and set it as your featured video. If you don’t want or don’t have a channel trailer, you can feature one of your best videos.
Optimizing videos individually is a matter of YouTube SEO. This involves keyword research, but it also involves many content optimization tips familiar from your blog. A good headline, a good “post” as the description, links to relevant destinations in that copy, it’s all the same. You also want to pick tags appropriate for your video content.
Video quality comes in three forms; video, audio and writing. For video, you want to shoot or animate and encode at 1080p, high definition. At least reach 720p. Anything less and your video looks blurry on anything other than a small smartphone. Audio means getting a quality mic to record your voice, as well as the software necessary to edit and master the sound. Writing is up to you; a good script can carry a bad video, and a good video can be ruined by bad writing. Don’t forget to upload a transcript.
2. Accumulate Video Review Testimonials
Here’s an idea; create a video asking your users to record a video testimonial of your business, product or service. Offer a prize for the best one, chosen at the end of a six-month period, or however long you think it will take to gather the best reviews. Make sure to note somewhere in your fine print that you’re free to use the video content in future advertising.
Over the ensuing contest period, users will create their own video testimonials and upload them. You’ll be able to accumulate a wealth of positive press through this technique, primarily because most contest entrants won’t want to jeopardize their chances by leaving a negative review.
This does three things. First, it floods YouTube with positive press linked to your brand name. Second, it gives you positive reviews you can embed later in other promotional material. Third, it gives you video clips and quotes you can use as positive testimonials on your site and in other videos later.
You can’t tell users to post as a video response any more, sadly. Fortunately, all it takes is a link on an official contest post or in the comments of the contest video.
3. Run Damage Control in a Crisis
Not everything is fun and games in the business world. Sometimes your building catches on fire. Sometimes your product is painted with lead. Sometimes your customer service person goes insane and starts yelling at customers. You never know when disaster will strike, and you need to be agile enough to handle it.
A video response to a crisis, with a calm and reasoned star, can do wonders to calm users. You can explain a situation, explain what you’re doing about it and above all acknowledge that it’s a problem. The Internet makes it impossible to hide widespread issues; you need to own up to any problems and do your best to solve them, even if this means widespread refunds or admitting you were wrong.
4. Feature Industry Influencers in Videos
In blogging, an interview is a great boon. You gain authority as the person who interviews other people; obviously the influencers in the industry wouldn’t stoop to give just anyone an interview. On the other hand, you gain authority as the person being interviewed. After all, if you didn’t have opinions worth caring about, why would anyone interview you?
You can take advantage of this, from either side of the mic, to create video interviews. This is just one of many ways you can use to include industry influencers in your videos.
At a low level, you can simply feature clips from influencer videos or excerpts from their links. This will help gain their attention and give you an opening to network, if you don’t have one already.
As a step up, you can create an interview and host one over Skype or Hangouts. You can even have the influencer join you for an in-person discussion.
Beyond that, if you have a close enough relationship with the influencer in question, why not have them on for a regular feature or occasional consult? Something like Alton Brown’s experts on Good Eats, or the experts they look up on Mythbusters.
5. Pay for Advertising Before Related Videos
Finally, you can use YouTube ads the same way you might use television commercials. You can be the person whose ad everyone skips while they’re waiting for the video they want to see to load. Alternatively, you can just have your text ad show up beneath videos. In either case, you need to use Google’s AdWords and link it to your YouTube account. Upload a video ad, target specific devices or users, choose keywords and you’re good to go.